Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The New Normal?

The internet is a-buzz at the moment with the story of a women, Sarah Darling,  who accidentally dropped her engagement ring into a homeless man's coin cup as she was emptying the coins from her wallet into the man (Billy Ray Harris)'s cup.  She didn't notice it missing for a few days as she had a skin rash and wasn't wearing it.  When she finally realized, she was distraught!  She went back to the man, and according to about 1,000 online articles (including this one):

When Ms Darling returned to the Plaza and found Mr Harris (and these are his own words)

"She squatted down like you did right there, and says 'Do you remember me?' and I  was like "I don't know.  I see a lot of faces".  She says "I might have gave you something very valuable".  I said "was it a ring?" and she says "yeah", and I said "Well, I have it".   

Billy Ray Harris

He could tell it was worth a lot of money, and he'd kept the ring for the rightful owner because it simply wasn't his. "My grandfather was a reverend.  he raised me from the time I was six months old, and thank the good Lord, it's a blessing, but I do still have some character" he said. 

Ms Darling was so grateful she gave him all the money in her wallet.  Her fiance was so grateful, that he's set up a fund in Mr Harris's name to say thank you, and people have now donated over $150,000 to the fund and it's still going strong.  So he's been generously thanked, and the large number of donations and the large amount has now spawned a whole new slew of followup articles.

Ms Darling's engagement ring

It really is a lovely and heart warming story, and I've enjoyed following it.  I especially love that the man is able to take pride in the fact that he still has his good character and knows that it's valuable enough to protect. 

A part of me though, has been just a little bit surprised by the whole thing - it's a shame to me that this is such a news worthy article!  That someone having integrity and doing the right thing - even when a lot of money is involved - would be so unusual that it's made news the world over!   Would most people really have pawned the ring and made some money at this obviously kind-hearted woman's expense? 

Is that what we all have come to expect and accept?  Is honesty really seen as such an anomaly in our society today? 

I hope not!  :) 

Either way - I'm pleased, like everyone else, that Mr Harris has set us all such a great example, and I'm also grateful for Ms Darling's example of charity at the front of the story, and then of gratitude on the back end of the story.  Everyone involved - including those donating to the 'thank you' fund - seem to have caught a spirit of doing good and of doing what's right. 

I'm just hopeful that that's what's normal and what we've come to expect and accept of each other and everyone around it :)

Your thoughts?...

xo Tammy


  1. If one does not have access to the basic necessities of life (food, clothing and shelter), one is bound to perish. It is natural instincts for survival, that makes any living being to cling on to something that ensures survival. So what Mr Harris did in his given circumstances was completely unnatural but truly inspiring and definitely newsworthy!

    Honesty of a homeless is not the anomaly in our society,Tammy. One not having even the basic necessities of life is!

    1. Very true!

      I had wondered if perhaps they were thinking it was unusual for a homeless person to have that much integrity, but my experiences with people in his situation (and I have had several) is that there is often a very genuine, decent, and honest approach to the way they see the world and a lot of kindness in how they deal with the people around them. So I didn't think it was so unusual that he should have been honest in the scenario! :)

  2. Mr Harris' honesty is not a surprise to me. I would have been more surprised if he had not returned the ring to its owner. Surely integrity is ever a hallmark of character more than of circumstance - and more certain of itself when tested than not.

    It is probably more surprising and very heartwarming to me that Ms Darling and others have done what they can to help Mr Harris financially. I hope it brings him a better life and that the end of this story is as happy for him as it has been for Ms Darling.

    Thank you for the story Tammy :)

  3. Karma is good when it's good :)
    Thanks Tam! xo